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How to Be Funny (Even If You’re Not): Improv-Inspired Copywriting Tips for Software Founders

Lianna Patch

Conversion copy + comedy + cats. Powered by coconut LaCroix + despair. Director @ SNAP (https://snapcopy.co/). Write funnier copy: https://www.punchlinecopy.com/5-ways-to-be-funnier-in-your-copy/

New Orleans, LA
Lianna Patch

http://punchlinecopy.com/microconf-2018

There are so many principles of improv and humor that can help you shape marketing copy, connect with your users, built loyalty, and increase retention.

If your SaaS isn't using humor, you aren't getting the results you deserve. You could be connecting more genuinely with your users.

Comedy Reading List

If your SaaS isn't using humor, you aren't getting the results you deserve. You could be connecting more genuinely with your users.

Funny copy can be longer and convert better. There's a strong connection between humor and money.

"Ok yeah but my software isn't funny" - is it less funny than stormwater compliance software?

1. WHY humor affects us

Why is humor sometimes uncomfortable? It makes us vulnerable. Past experiences of offending people make us wary, and we feel like work should be serious.

Humor has huge advantages though. It activates parts of the brain associated with happiness and fulfillment that make us more receptive.

Don't make your user feel like your product is a taskmaster - nobody wants to do work

Even when your campaign is delivering bad news (like prices )

Humor topics

What is a joke I don't understand teach me - you probably if you're German

Pick your humor topic by asking your users what they like (movies, books, standup comedians, dank memes, etc.)

How do you know what your users will find funny? Literally ask them.

Once you know what your users think is funny, humor topics are anything both you and your users think are funny.

Humor topics are anything both you and your users think are funny

Humor Style

Generally, humor can be either observational or self-deprecating.

Observational humor in SaaS

Self-deprecating humor is making fun of yourself or your product. You're the butt of the joke, so the risk of offending is low.

Self-deprecating humor in SaaS

2. WHERE to use humor to best effect

Don't use humor in your value proposition (the quick line or two of text explaining what it is you do and why your users should care). This could muddy your value proposition and lose your customer quickly.

If you're sending traffic to landing pages, it's okay to crack a joke because you know more about your users. Surprising humor can keep your user reading.

Humor also works very well in emails and in your app experience (ex: instead of just "date range", "date range be like" from FOMO has more personality).

3. HOW to punch up your copy line by line

There are three types of comedy punchups:

  1. Show your emotions
  2. Piss off your grammar teacher
  3. Lead the way

1. Show your emotions

Writing in ALL CAPS (sparingly, so you don't seem like an old person trying to use the internet) is a great way to show emotion in copy.

Rockin' Green showin' emotion

Comic book words - tangible action words - breath emotion into your copy

ZAPPIN some action words your way

Comic book words in SaaS copy shows emotion

Making asides is another great way to humanize your copy.

Making asides in SaaS copy shows emotion

Gifs can be great, but use them sparingly. If they're too long, referencing jokes your users won't get, or irrelevent to their context they won't work well.

2. Piss Off Your Grammar Teacher (POYGT)

Using unconventional grammar can increase conversions:

  • adsf
  • Including a typo in your subject line (like "moar")
  • using contractions and abbreviations (now "Hot is it going (fellow kids)", but "so I wanna know", "gonna", etc.)
  • chop up your sentences

Humanizing friendly abbreviations to use in copy

Chop up your sentences

3. Lead the Way

Ask and answer questions to get right to what your user is thinking.

Lead the way by anticipating your user's questions

You can also try trailing off with ellipsis...

...and including a call to action! "Upgrade my Bear!" is a great CTA, "take a look inside" isn't.

Recap

Key ways of being funny by Lianna Patch

Questions

Hi, I'm in the funeral niche...

"Hi, I'm in the funeral niche..."

...does it really work across all industries?

Results may vary. It's totally possible though. You know your target client: if they're cool with death, it could totally work.

Do you know a type of humor that can work across age demographics?

Start with research into what your audience thinks is funny! Now that you know misspellings don't work on older people but do on younger people, you can tailor your humor accordingly.

Does B2B vs. B2C matter?

B2C has gone whole-hog with humor. Would you rather have a president that can crack a joke about himself, or one that can't take a joke?

How do you ask people what they think is funny?

It's random and surprises people. Sandwich it between other user research. Ask two questions with data you really need to know, then reward them with a question about what they think is funny.

We used to have a gif of Arnold lifting weights but it was cats instead of weights, and most people found it funny but some called us animal abusers. What do you do with those kind of reactions?

Apparently some people find this offensive

Ask who your ideal user is - what's the lifetime value of someone who likes the gif vs. those who don't? Focus on people who are worth it to you.

How do we test what's offensive? Are there baby steps if you're in a sensitive, serious industry like public safety?

Integrate humor slowly and cautiously. Test a version of a joke in one email.

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